Iraq -- Geography --
Official Name: Republic of Iraq (Al Jumhuriyah al Iraqiyah)
Capital City: Baghdad
Official Language: Arabic; Kurdish;Turkish; Asyrean
Official Currency: Iraqi Dinar (IQD)
Religions: Muslim - 97%; Christian or other - 3%
Population: 27 499 638 ppl
Land Area: 437 072 sq km
Geographic situation: Iraq is a country in the Middle East situated on the territory of the ancient Mesopotamia. It shares borders with Kuwait and Saudi Arabia to the south, Jordan to the west, Syria to the northwest, Turkey to the north, and Iran to the east.
Landforms: Iraq mainly consists of desert, but between the two major rivers (Euphrates and Tigris) the area is fertile. The north of the country is mostly composed of mountains; the highest point being at 3 600 metres point is known locally as Cheekah Dar (black tent). Iraq has a small coastline along the Persian Gulf. Close to the coast and along the Shatt al-Arab there used to be marshlands, but many were drained in the 1990s.
Climate: The local climate is mostly desert,subtropical with mild to cool winters and dry, hot, cloudless summers. The northern mountainous regions have cold winters with occasional heavy snows, sometimes causing extensive flooding.
Land Divisions: Iraq is divided into eighteen governorates (or provinces) (Arabic - muhafadhat, Kurdish - Parizgah). The governorates are subdivided into districts.
Iraq -- History --
The region of Iraq was historically known as Mesopotamia (Greek: "between the rivers"). It was home to the world's first known civilization, the Sumerian, followed by the Akkadian, Babylonian, and Assyrian. Therefore the region is called the "Cradle of Civilization". About 3000 BC appeared the Shumerian country. Later these areas are enslaved by Persia and in 656 they are conquered by the Arabs. In 762 the caliphate was moved in Baghdad, which had turned into one of the centres ot the Arabic World, until being conguered by the Ottomans in 1534. The participation of the Ottoman Empire in the World War I turned into e real disaster and therefore it was devided into several small countries. France took the control over Syria and Lebanon and Great Britain - over Palestine and Iraq. In 1932 the country was announced as an independent mnarchy. In 1958 after a coup d'etat Iraq stopped being a monarchy and turned into a republic. Baaists began to overwhelm the power and they took the authority in 1968 and in 1979 Saddam Husein became a presedent of the country. From 1980 to 1988 Iraq is in war with Iran which ended without a clear winner but with millions of victims from both sides. In 1990 Saddam Husein occupies Kuwait with the aim to put control over the petrol resources of the country but the Alliance lead by the USA set Kuwait free. After the war in the Persian gulf in 1991 Iraq was in the position of an international isolation which had been continuing since the second war in the gulf in 2003. There was evidence that Saddam Husein planned to use weapons for mass destruction and he supperted the Islamic terrorists. Therefore the USA, Great Britain, Australia, Poland and Denmark attack Iraq and managed to occupy the whole country for less than a month. On 28 June 2004 the authority is given to the Iraqi government although there were over 160 000 soldiers from various countries in Iraq including Bulgarian soldiers until the end of 2005. In spite of the plans of the Americans of secure and democratic Iraq, mainly after the capture of Saddam Husein on 13 December 2003, in the country act a lot of terroristic organizations (mostly in the so called Sunitian triangle) and there are daily assaults in lots of Iraqi towns. The first elections in Iraq after the overthrow of Saddam Husein were in February 2005.
Iraq -- Economy --
Industry: After the founding of the huge oil reserves in 1927 Iraq became a leading world producer of petrol. Iraq has also one of the world's biggest reserves of natural gas, sulphur and phosphates. There are factories of the petrol, cement, machine-building, food-processing and textile industry.
Agriculture: It is bred wheat, barley, rice, cotton, tobacco, dates, citruses, etc. Stock-breeding - cattle (about 2,5 million), sheep and goats (about 15 million), camels, horses, etc.
Tourism and Transportation: In spite of the numerous historical sightseeings the country practically is not visited by any tourists because of the political atmosphere. Iraq has about 50 000 km roads 40 000 km of which have hard cover and there are 2 000 km railroads. There are also 4 200 km oil pipelines and 2 600 km gas-mains. There are sea harbours in Basra, Fao and Um Kasar. The international airport is situated in the capital - Baghdad.
Economic Atmosphere: As a result of the war conflicts and the consequent isolation the country is in a hard economic situation. After the Saddam Husein's administration most of the revenues are used for armament and military purposes. In 1980 Iraq began an eight-year war with Iran in which died over 300 000 people and in 1990 Iraqi armies invaded in Kuwait. In 1991 a coalition of countries lead by the Unated states dislodge the Iraqi armies from Kuwait. The imposed sanctions by UN put Iraq in international isolation. Up to 1996 Iraq used its oil resources only for internal needs. Az a result the gross domestic product is redeced twice. The material damages, human victims killed during the war in the Gulf and the consequent embargo laid on the inner trade substantionally stopped the development of the economy in Iraq which affected mostly the poorest layers ot the population.
Basic Macroeconomic Indicators: The Gross Domestic Product of the country for 2007 is 87,9 billion dollars and there are 1 900 dollars per capita. The real growth of the GDP for 2007 is 1,9%. Agriculture represents 7,3 % of the total GDP, industrial sector takes the majority share - 66,6 % and service sector - 26,1% .The labour force in Iraq is 7,4 million people and according to data from 2006 the unemloyment rate is from 25 to 30 %. The high rate of unemployment is due to the political atmosphere in the country. In 2006 there is also an extremely high inflation rate - 53,2 %. Budget revenues for 2006 are 39,3 billion dollars and budget expenditures are 33,94 billion dollars which means that there is a budget surplus. The external bebt of Iraq is 54,46 billion dollars. The export is 28,41 and the import 21,48 billion dollars. The country exports mainly oil and fuel and imports food, medicines and manufactures. Iraq trades basicaly with Syria, USA, Turkey and Jordan.
Iraq -- Culture --
Iraq is a word of arabic origin mantioned for the first time in the Koran as a geographic name of the region in which the Islamic religion had spread. From historical point of view the area of today's Iraq is very important because thousands of years ago there in Babylon was created the first legislation; in Uruk was created the first alphabet (about 5000 years ago) and there was situated the Seventh Wonder of the Ancient World - The Semiramida's Hanging Gardens. Irag is important also from culturological point of view - it had been a core of the Islamic Empire and the Arabic Civilization for centuries. In Iraq thrived science and culture there were created two of the most famous schools of the Arabic language in Kufa and Basra. In Baghdad was founded one of the oldest university in the world and also there is situated the most ancient chirch founded by Toma - one of the twelve Christ's disciples. In several Iraqi towns (Baghdad, Kerbala, Nadjaf, etc.) there are a lot of Islamic sacred places.
Iraq -- Political system, law and government --
Iraq is a "sovereign national-democratic country". Supreme authority has the Counsil of the Revolutional Command, lead by the President (Jalal Talabani) who is also a commander-in-chief. Prime Minister of Iraq is Nouri al-Maliki. There is an one-palat National Council (The Parliament) which consists of 275 deputies. The Council of Ministers is composed of 37 ministers chosen by the President. The President is elected for 7 years by e referendum. The constituion has been ratified since 15 October 2005. The Law System is based on the European civil law and the Islamic law.